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Tagged With: how-to

Hour of Code Activity: Build a Website

As a tech teacher, I see a lot of student websites. I’m always impressed with the effort, the tenacity, and often the skill, but most require ‘some additional work’ to be published.

And then I got an email from Stephen Byrne. In his quest to better learn history, he blended it with his love of of programming and built a website. It’s called History for Kids. It is exceptional, not only for its clean, intuitive presentation, but it’s age-appropriate language. If your students struggle finding research websites that use words at their grade level, suggest they build their own site like Stephen did:


Categories: History | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

How to Create a Tagxedo

Tagxedos are an excitingly versatile tool that turn words into pictures. They’re word clouds–like Wordle, but more powerful. You can use them to share ideas, collect descriptive words and phrases about events, or evaluate the import of a website. Click here for a review of the webtool and over fifteen uses in your classroom.

We used Tagxedos this summer in Summer PD and I created this how-to video for students. Watch it–if you haven’t used Tagxedos before, you will fall in love with them.

Here are Sara’s thoughts over at Teachers and Technology, and Hardy Leung shares 101 ways to use it.


Categories: Videos, Web Tools, Writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

How to Embed Student Work into Digital Portfolios

With the education spotlight on sharing and publishing, students need to be able to take a project they’ve created and place it in their blogs, websites, or another location that shares their work with others. Often, this starts with an embed code.

Here’s a video I created for my Summer PD students on how to embed a project:


Categories: Google, Videos | Tags: | Leave a comment

How to Teach a Tech Lesson–the Movie

I get lots of questions on how to deliver a tech class. What’s included? How do teachers blend it with other learning? How do you answer all the student questions?

Here’s a video with the answers to those questions and more. I’d love to hear how your tech class runs–add a comment at the bottom:


Categories: Classroom management, Computer skills, Videos | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How to Organize Your Classroom–the Movie

Last week, I shared ideas on how to set up your tech classroom. Today, I want to share a video:


Categories: Classroom management, Videos | Tags: , | Leave a comment

How to set up your tech classroom

IMG_0103I’m reposting this for the start of a new school year–as a reminder to all my fellow tech teachers. Go geeks!

If you teach technology, you want to set the lab up so it’s inviting, non-intimidating, but doesn’t hide from the core ‘geek’ theme. In fact, from day one, exclaim that fact, be proud of your nerd roots. Even if you didn’t start out that way–say, you used to be a first grade teacher and suddenly your Admin in their infinite wisdom, moved you to the tech lab–you became a geek. You morphed into the go-to person for tech problems, computer quirks, crashes, and freezes. Your colleagues assumed you received an upload of data that allowed you to Know the answers to their every techie question. You are on a pedestal, their necks craned upward as they ask you, How do I get the Smartscreen to work? or We need the microphones working for a lesson I’m starting in three minutes. Can you please-please-please fix them?

As you organize your classroom, celebrate your geekiness. Flaunt it for students and colleagues. Play Minecraft. Use every new techie device you can get your hands on. That’s you now–you are sharp, quick-thinking. You tingle when you see an iPad. You wear a flash drive like jewelry. When your students walk into your class, they should start quivering with the excitement of, What new stuff will we experience today?

Here’s a summary of what happens your first day with a class. From this, you’ll figure out how to set up your classroom (no owl themes here. It’s all about bits and bytes):

  • Introduce yourself—establish your bona fides. Share your blog, your background, your awards. Give them website addresses or post them to the class internet start page. You want to be easy to find.
  • Tour the classroom with students. I walk K-2 around—they like getting out of their seats. Demystify any of the tech tools you will expect them to use—where they can get help in solving problems, what’s on the walls, where’s the printer/scanner/iPads/etc.


Categories: Classroom management, Teacher resources | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Weekend Website #103: Screenbird

Every Friday, I share a website (or app) that I’ve heard about, checked into, gotten excited to use. This one is a math book and app. Since ‘math’ is by far the most popular search term of readers who seek out my blog, I know you’re going to enjoy this review.

[caption id="attachment_8264" align="aligncenter" width="614"]screenbird screen recording Need to teach step-by-step lessons? Try Screenbird[/caption]


Fifth grade and up–homeschoolers, students, computer lab, classroom


Categories: Reviews, Websites | Tags: , | Leave a comment

#9: How to Look Like a Photoshop Pro–in Fifth Grade

imagesBefore trying this lesson, start with Photoshop for Fifth Graders: The First Step is Word, Autofixes, cloning, and cropping. Don’t worry. It’s not hard–just the basics.

Ready? Let’s start with what Adobe Photoshop is–a grown-up KidPix, and the default photo-editing program for anyone serious about graphics. This series of projects (available in 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom Volume I) introduces students to a traditionally-challenging program in an easy to understand way, each scaffolding to the next, thus avoiding the frustration and confusion inherent in most Photoshop training.

Adobe Photoshop has an impressive collection tools to add pizazz to pics. Have students open their school picture for this project (I’ll use a horse). They love working with their own image.

  • #1: Artistic Renderings—artistic overlays that add flair to pictures. Go to Filter—artistic and it brings up dozens of choices. Try some (it gives a preview of the result) and select a favorite.




  • #2: blur and smudge tools on left tool bar to soften the background, and sharpen a focal point.


Categories: 5th Grade, 8th grade, Art, Freebies/Discounts, Images, Lesson plans, Photoshop | Tags: | Leave a comment

How to Hack Passwords

Here’s the guy who knows. Read this article. It’s important! I’ve summarized hacked-computer-june08some of its critical parts:

How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords

If you invited me to try and crack your password, you know the one that you use over and over for like every web page you visit, how many guesses would it take before I got it?

Let’s see… here is my top 10 list.

  1. Your partner, child, or pet’s name, possibly followed by a 0 or 1 (because they’re always making you use a number, aren’t they?)
  2. The last 4 digits of your social security number.
  3. 123 or 1234 or 123456.
  4. “password”
  5. Your city, or college, football team name.
  6. Date of birth – yours, your partner’s or your child’s.
  7. “god”
  8. “letmein”
  9. “money”
  10. “love” (more…)
Categories: Computer skills, Digital Citizenship, Teacher resources, Tech tips | Tags: , | Leave a comment